The following piece has just been published in the Washington Blade
It has been a little more than two weeks since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was officially removed from the books. There have been no reports of sexual tension, harassment or sexual assault, as predicted by the Family Research Council. There have been no shower rapes or any mass exodus of straight men and women who would not stand side-by-side with one of their own because of their sexual orientation.
What there has been is a slow and steady stream of brave men and women who have decided to tell the truth about who they are. As someone who did not serve, but grew up in a military household, I was taught that one of the essential pillars of the serving in the Armed Forces was honor.
If brave men and women are willing to enlist in the military, fight and make the ultimate sacrifice for our country, then they deserve the same rights and privileges as any other American. The bottom line is that in the days since repeal, everyone in the military is serving with the same people they were serving with before repeal.
This is something that former Sen. Rick Santorum doesn’t seem to understand. In a recent presidential debate, Santorum said that there was no place for sexual displays in the military. What he fails to understand is the simple fact that before Sept. 20, a gay soldier could not set a picture of he and his partner on his desk, while a straight soldier could. A lesbian Marine could not display a photo of her girlfriend near her bunk.
Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper was absolutely correct in his statement that, “Sen. Santorum’s shameful response to the combat soldier’s question regarding open service was incoherent and out of touch. America’s uniformed leaders support gays and lesbians serving alongside their colleagues with dignity and respect. Santorum’s divisive and homophobic remarks do not befit a commander-in-chief.”
On that same evening of repeal, Log Cabin Republicans honored Sens. Susan Collins and Scott Brown with Spirit of Lincoln awards for their critical roles in bringing repeal to reality. They, along with six other Republican senators, voted in favor of repeal, pushing the vote above its needed margin of victory.
Between 1993 and Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, more than 14,000 service men and women were discharged under the failed policy of DADT. That’s 14,000 American jobs that men and women have been fired from simply for having the integrity to say who they are. How do we live in a country where being honest is a disqualifying factor?
If you have faith in our armed forces, then you should have faith that everyone serving has the proper training and skill set to successfully perform their duties and missions. If you respect the military, then you should respect the men and women who valiantly serve in it. All of them.
Sen. Scott Brown said it best at that Log Cabin dinner: “When a soldier answers the call for duty, it only matters if they’re willing to give their all.”